LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) closed yesterday just a shade short of the 6,500 level at 6,482 points, and today it's up 0.37% points to 6,505 as of 7:55 a.m. EDT. Positive news from retailers has helped the various FTSE indexes today, keeping levels at five-year highs.
So which companies are behind the rally? Here are three whose shares are on the up and look set to beat the FTSE 100 today.
Home Retail (NYSE:HOME)
Shares in Home Retail leapt 10 to 146 pence following news that annual sales within the firm's Argos chain gained 4.3% to 501 million pounds, with like-for-like sales up 5.2%.
The turnaround in the once-anachronistic high-street retailer has been quicker and more effective than many were expecting. Chief executive Terry Duddy, in the firm's year-end trading statement, said, "We will continue to invest and are focused on delivery of the transformation plan to reinvent Argos as a digital retail leader."
Sales within the group's Homebase operation did fall by 2.8%, but in the still-depressed DIY retail market, that performance was expected.
Ocado shares have performed even better this morning, soaring 17.2% to 161 pence on news of a possible tie-up with Wm. Morrison Supermarkets (LSE:MRW). Morrisons, whose shares have picked up 2.3%, is planning its own online grocery business, and a deal with Ocado "may lead to an agreement to license certain of Ocado's existing and future intellectual property and operating knowledge."
Also this morning, Morrisons raised its annual dividend by 10% to 11.8 pence per share after full-year sales rose 3% to 18.1 billion pounds. Underlying pre-tax profit did fall by 4%, however, with like-for-like sales down 2% after the firm lost market share.
Aggreko, the supplier of power generation and temperature-control equipment, is up 5% today after it announced a new contract for providing power to Mozambique. The deal with utilities Electricidade de Mocambique and NamPower will see the two taking a total of 122 MW from Aggreko's power plant at Ressano Garcia, which was built in 2012 to supply electricity to the Southern African Power Pool. The plant should go into operation during the second quarter of 2013.
The news will be welcomed by Aggreko shareholders, whose shares plunged during December in response to a relatively mild profit warning. But the price has been recovering since the start of February and is now down about 15% over 12 months.
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